Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s provocative statements asserting his country’s role in Thrace have sparked a rebuttal from Greece, which advised him to keep his nose out of Greek business.
Just before his Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu came to Athens to talk about further co-operation between the countries, Erdogan was in the city of Kessani near the border where he said Thrace is important to Turkey.
During the municipal elections tour he said that “Thrace is also Thessaloniki, Komotini and Xanthi. It’s Kardzhali and Vardar. If we go a little further it’s Skopje and Pristina, it’s Sarajevo.”
He continued: “Thrace is the living witness of our common history with Europe. It represents our past in the region. Today, Thrace is in the center of all our Balkan relations along with Adrianople, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli and of course Istanbul,” which Greece still calls Constantinople even 555 years after losing it to the Turks.
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Konstantinos Koutras, said: “The historical and geographical references to an area with such a strong historical significance as the Balkans should always be conducted with care.
“Today, the only criteria is to abide by the international law and the rules of good neighborly relations based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the nations in the region. For Greece this is a fundamental, self-evident and inviolable position.”